Recently my husband and I went on separate trips. He went to Hong Kong for 7 days, while I went to Austria for 3 days. While it was an amazing experience, and we’re always happy to travel together, we feel like there shouldn’t be a stigma around travelling alone – especially if the couple is on the same page about it!
We decided to do a photography project in 8 parts. Why 8 parts?
8 parts because there are 8 things these trips taught us.
1. It’s Okay To Have Your Own Life
Before getting married we both loved travelling. He travelled to 8 countries and I travelled to 19 countries solo. We already knew the joy of a solo trip, and the advantages of it as well — but once we got married and started travelling together, we enjoyed each others company so much that it just never occurred to us to travel alone anywhere. In some cultures, it might not be a big deal, but in others, it really is. As a married couple people expect us to do things together all the time. It isn’t always considered socially acceptable for husbands and wives to do things separately, or even have lives of their own. That was our first motivational force for this project, to show people that it is completely okay and even healthy.
2. You Don’t Need To Explain Yourself
Even though we both mutually agreed to these solo trips, it was not because we needed space, or that we didn’t miss each others company. The first few days our texts constantly consisted of phrases like, “you would’ve loved that place,” or “wish you were here!” These texts went both ways.
The point is: a person travelling without their partner doesn’t need to feel obligated to explain themselves to anyone else. We are great together, but we are also two strong, and independent individuals. We constantly encourage each other to follow our desired paths, even if they happen to diverge. Again, it should be no one else’s business.
3. Celebrate Your Individuality
While we’re both similar people, we naturally also have different interests. It was a chance to reconnect with ourselves, and the solo traveller within us. We constantly support and celebrate each other’s individuality, and solo travelling is a practical part of that.
4. It Makes For Amazing Conversation
Hong Kong and Austria are wildly different locations, in polar opposite parts of the world. Naturally, when we reunited, the travel stories were endless. He kept going on and on about all the things I would have appreciated in terms of the culture in Hong Kong, and I kept going on about how he would have fallen in love with the Alps in Innsbruck. Even as travellers to separate countries, our knowledge of the two places increased by telling each other about our experiences in them. Travelling together is a complete and immersive experience, but sometimes a lot goes unsaid when you’re both seeing and feeling the same things. Telling your partner about a fresh, new experience makes for amazing conversation.
5. You Make Many More Global Friends
Making global friends! You meet more people who you would never have been able to encounter otherwise and get to know their stories better. When we travel as a couple we still meet new and interesting people, but we also become extremely codependent — focused on each other. When you are by yourself though, you notice other people more which helps make new friends. I remember having made many friends across the globe, travelling solo through Japan, Turkey, and China. I’m still in touch with them, and these are wonderful friendships I’ve built in new countries!
6. It’s Great For Personal Growth
Personal growth is another advantage that comes with solo travel. Every place has different rules that you aren’t familiar with, and these experiences teach you how to deal with different people and situations. Travelling alone can build your confidence. When we travel together we have assigned roles. He takes care of certain things, and I take care of others — but when you are alone, you can only count on yourself. You always discover a new part of your personality.
7. You Do Things For Yourself
Solo trips are all about you, and you plan them just for yourself. When we are planning a trip (him and I) we have a rule that he picks one location, and I pick the next country. When we land on a country we look at ‘things to do’ according to both of our interests, which is super fun, and we get to experience way more. But on solo trips, you get a chance to do exactly whatever it is you want — which is wonderful.
8. It Reveals The Underlying Strength Of Your Relationship
Solo trips can also reveal the underlying strength of the relationship you two have built together — because without any trouble, intense discussions, or compromises, you are both able to do exactly what you want. You are able to take this solo trip with 100% of your spouse’s support. It makes for a happy, and healthy relationship. It establishes a secure foundation for the both of you.
9. Bonus: You Find A Tour Guide In Your Partner
Since we have been married, I’ve repeated visits to countries because he had never been there — so I was his little tour guide as we went around. You find a guide in your partner. Now when we go to Hong Kong together he will be my guide, because he’s already familiar with the city! Who could be a better guide than your partner?